Clonaslee St Manmans claimed the Laois U-21 B hurling championship as helped by six goals they powered past holders Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe in a highly competitive final at Mountmellick on Saturday evening.
Clonaslee St Manmans 6-12
Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe 2-10
The scoreline certainly does not the tell the full story of this game as it was dominated for much of the opening half by the three amalgamated clubs who were the defending champions but it was a first half hat trick of goals by PJ Fitzpatrick that gave Clonaslee a two point half time lead.
All of the goals came against the run of play with Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe constantly putting their opponents under pressure in the first half. However Clonaslee were more clinical scoring on nearly every occasion they launched a counter attack.
In the second half it was the Clonaslee lads who turned the screw and crashed in three more goals, picked off points at will and ran out comfortable and deserving winners.
The combination side were struck a major blow before half time when their scoring star Robbie Foyle went down with an injury. While he started the second half, he soon had to be substituted after scoring 1-8 and he proved a huge loss to his team.
This Clonaslee side were fulfilling the potential they had shown in underage ranks from a side that won the Feile under 14 hurling title some six years ago but had failed to replicate that success at minor level with many of their players having being members of county minor teams along the way. This victory will surely give them something to build on at adult level in the future.
They were strong all over the park and while PJ Fitzpatrick led the way in the opening half with three opportunist goals, they had a line up of stars in the second half with Will Young taking the lead role in the centre of the attack along with Ciaran and Conor Hyland, Conor Lewis, Conor McEvoy and Pakie Delaney.
Robbie Foyle opened the scoring as his side dominated the early exchanges but then a long range shot from PJ Fitzpatrick seemed to be dropping over the crossbar but somehow ended up in the back of the net. Foyle and Pakie Delaney exchanged points from play before the Timahoe lad landed another free in the 13th minute.
Then Fitzpatrick struck for his second goal when he took on the defence and blasted to the corner of the net and within minutes added a point from close range as the combination defence struggled to keep the reins on him.
The defending champions were thrown a life line when Darragh Nolan won a ball on the sideline. He took on and drew the Clonaslee defence before passing to Robbie Foyle who tucked the ball in the net. He added a point to leave just one between the sides with 20 minutes played.
A fine long range point from Conor Lewis was quickly followed by Fitzpatrick’s third goal as he crept unmarked up the right side and when Pakie Delaney crossed his first time strike gave Ray Killeen no chance.
Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe finished the half the stronger side with Robbie Foyle hitting three points on the trot to leave his team just two points in arrears at the break 3at -3 to 1-7 but as he limped off the field his side were in trouble.
They certainly were in bigger trouble within a minute of the restart when Will Young won possession from the throw in and raced through the defence and planted the ball in the net. He then won the puck out and flashed it over the bar, all inside 40 seconds.
Robbie Foyle shot his final point but Clonaslee were now in control all over the pitch and scores flowed with Ciaran Hyland, Will Young again, Conor McEvoy, and Conor Lewis all on target while PJ Fitzpatrick set up Aaron Wisely for his side’s fifth goal and the title was well and truly on the way back up the Slieve Blooms.
The final nail in the coffin was driven in by substitute Sean Larkin who crashed home goal number six in the 17th minute. Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe fought to the end and had points from Colm Lalor and Ruairi O’Connor with Darragh Nolan getting through and finishing a fine goal in the dying minutes but points from PJ Fitzpatrick and Ciaran Hyland saw the new champions finish in style for a significant victory for the club.
Scorers: Clonaslee St. Manmans: PJ Fitzpatrick 3-2, Will Young 1-2, Ciaran Hyland 0-3, Aaron Wisely 1-0, Sean Larkin 1-0, Conor Lewis 0-2, Pakie Delaney, Conor McEvoy and Conor Hyland 0-1 each. Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe: Robbie Foyle 1-8, Darragh Nolan 1-0, Colm Lalor and Ruairi O’Connor 0-1 each.
Clonaslee St. Manmans: Cormac Dunne, Eoin Dunne, Dermot Conroy, Conor McEvoy, Conor Hyland, Mick Hyland, Conor Lewis, Ciaran Hyland, PJ Fitzpatrick, Will Young, Padraig Carroll, Pakie Delaney, Aaron Wisely. Subs: Sean Larkin for Padraig Carroll, Ger Reilly for Pakie Delaney, Gavin Burke for Aaron Wisely.
Clonad Ratheniska Timahoe: Ray Killeen, Paul Brennan, Martin Norton, Gavin Tynan, Damien O’Connor, Michael Brennan, Barry Fingleton, James Ging, Ruairi O’Connor, Tom McEvoy, Robbie Foyle, Darragh Nolan, Joe McEvoy. Subs: Colm Lalor for Robbie Foyle, Conor Lennon for Brennan, Ger Boyle for Ging, Ciaran Lennon for Tom McEvoy, Bob Delaney for Joe McEvoy, Paul Conroy for Ruairi O’Connor.
Referee: Michael Ward.